Busting Brackets

Social media shocked by Zach Edey going in the top 10 of the 2024 NBA Draft

Zach Edey was selected at No. 9 overall by the Memphis Grizzlies after being named the Player of the Year in College basketball in 2023 and 2024.
Purdue v Connecticut
Purdue v Connecticut / Jamie Squire/GettyImages

Zach Edey was a generational college basketball player, the first to win the Naismith’s Player of the Year award in back-to-back seasons since Virginia’s Ralph Sampson in 1982 and 1983. However, the reality is, that feat has a massive caveat. Most players who win it in modern college basketball, don’t stick around long enough to defend that crown. 

At 7-foot-4 Edey is a throwback in many ways, a four-year starter at Purdue, he developed into a technically sound back-to-the-basket big man and dominated a sport obsessed with playing small ball. He also drew the ire of many college basketball fans with a historically dominant season from the free throw line in 2023-24 while leading Purdue to the national championship game. 

The NBA hasn’t seen a player like Edey basically since Indiana’s Roy Hibbert got played off the floor in the 2014 playoffs after an all-star season. It’s not just the lack of outside shooting, but Edey’s offense primarily comes out of post-up touches, a lost art in the professional game. Needless to say, the Memphis Grizzlies selecting Edey at No. 9 overall came as a shock to media and fans alike. 

Edey was not in attendance at the draft at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. 

Some fans, the same ones infuriated by Edey’s routine trips to the free throw line and unimpressed by his production at Purdue, were frustrated by the selection. 

Others saw it as a symptom of the underwhelming talent in the 2024 NBA Draft class. After two French prospects, Kentucky freshman Reed Sheppard was the first collegiate player selected, despite not starting for the Wildcats in Calipari’s final season there. 

Even former NBA general manager, Bob Meyers, one of the primary architects of the Golden State Warriors’ dynasty, was surprised on the ABC broadcast.